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Race underway to get river ready for Queen's Jubilee Pageant

Laying moorings (click on image to enlarge)
Laying moorings
(Click on image to enlarge)

Port of London Authority (PLA) crews are hard at work laying over three miles of mooring chains for vessels taking part in the Thames river pageant being held on 3 June to mark the Diamond Jubilee of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.

Almost 10,000 feet of chain – the length of 267 original Routemaster double-decker London buses parked end to end – is being used to construct special moorings in Barn Elms Reach, between Putney Bridge and the Harrod’s Depository near Hammersmith Bridge.

The moorings sit on the part of the river that forms part of the course for the annual University Boat Race.  As a result, work laying the moorings couldn’t start until this year’s race had taken place. 

“The timing of the Boat Race and the pageant has given us a challenge,” explained the PLA’s Jim Denby, who is overseeing the operation.  “We’ve got two specialised vessels and crews working on laying these moorings over the next six weeks. 

“The work isn’t unusual, but the sheer number of moorings and the short time we’ve got to do it is.  When you combine it with all the other work we have in hand getting the river ready for the big day it’s a very busy time.”

Other preparatory work the PLA is doing includes installing heavy duty moorings in central London for vessels joining the ‘Avenue of Sail’; assisting with rehearsals; and overhauling and fine tuning the 30-plus vessels it will have on the river for the event.  And that’s before you look at the extensive work the PLA has been doing for over eighteen months helping the organisers plan for the event.

Local rowing clubs in the Putney area have been consulted on the restrictions, which mean that fine boat rowers will not be allowed to row through the area during the installation of the moorings and the whole time they are in place.  All other river users are being directed to pass through the area with caution navigating with line astern if possible.

PLA chief harbour master, David Phillips, welcomed the rowing clubs’ co-operation:

“The three miles of moorings we are currently laying in Barn Elms Reach are essential to getting the vessels taking part in the pageant on 3 June safely marshalled and in position ahead of the event.  The rowers’ understanding of the need for them to help create this unique spectacle is really appreciated.

“The Barn Elms moorings are going to be home to just a quarter of the vessels that will be taking part in the event; that really underlines the scale of the ambition for this event.  On the night of 2 June, you will see some 200 vessels tied up there including Dunkirk Little Ships, historic steam boats and fire boats.  Make no mistake, on the day, the river is going to be inundated with craft from rowing boats to large passenger boats, small Sea Cadets vessels to the Royal Barge.”

For more pictures see our gallery.

For films, news releases, images and background information about the PLA's work for the Pageant visit our Media Centre.

For further details of the Queen's Jubilee Pageant vist the organiser’s website (opens in a new window).

Notes to Editors:

  • The PLA has been heavily involved in planning the navigational safety of the flotilla of up to 1,000 vessels large and small from all over the world.
  • On the day the PLA will help to marshal the participants afloat and their vessels, keep the seven-mile route between Wandsworth Bridge and Tower Bridge clear of debris, and coordinate river traffic.
  • The PLA issued a Notice to Mariners on February 14 about the Barn Elms Mooring Trots notifying rowers of restrictions and issuing safety advice to other river users.